How To Play Your Games In ‘Real’ 3D (Windows)

Simon Slangen 12-02-2009

play games 3dEvery gamer must’ve imagined it at one time or another – putting on a helmet and suit, and being in the game.  WYSIWYG-gaming. Everything really happening. Everything truly being done by you. You’ll even experience real pain when being hit or shot.


Unfortunately we haven’t progressed that far yet. We’re steadily moving in the right direction and sooner or later we’ll get there, mark my words. I can only hope my (then) ‘old bones’ will allow me to use it when the moment has arrived.

But the time isn’t there yet, and so we just have to work with the things we have. There are a lot of great things out there if you know where to look that can approach this virtual reality gaming pretty good. We’ve got the NOVINT Falcon controller, electric shock inhibitors, and of course the great graphics of the current-gen games.

Stereoscopic Gaming

Another one of those great things is the GeForce 3D Vision. This program – that runs on Windows and NVIDIA GPUs – will allow you to play your games in 3D.

3d games windows

Not just the common 3D that we encounter in all games nowadays, mind. Do you remember those goofy 3D goggles with one eye blue/green and one eye red? Yeah, that 3D.


What Anaglyphs Are

For those of you who have never heard before of the concept of anaglyphs or stereoscopical vision, I’ll briefly explain it. If your interest is peaked, you can always Google for more information on this subject.

3d gaming software

Anaglyphs are 3D situations (defined by height, width and depth) that are put into a 2D picture (defined by height and width). They are made by merging two slightly different points of view into one image, using two superimposed color layers.

Without, they only give you headaches, but if you view these anaglyphs through anaglyph filters (a.k.a. “goofy goggles”), each eye will see only one of those layers. The brain then decodes these two separate images – like it’s doing all day long – into the 3D vision that we all know.


How To Set Up Anaglyphic Gaming

How To Play Your Games In 'Real' 3D (Windows) 11 02 2009 19 55 07We are going to use GeForce 3D Vision, an NVIDIA application. You’ll need Windows and an NVIDIA graphical processing unit (8000 series, or later).

There are also various ATI GPUs that support stereographic gaming by default. You can search for these on Google.

The supported operating systems are Windows XP (limited to 32bit) and Windows Vista (supported by both the 32bit and the 64bit version).

1. Update Your Current Drivers

Make sure to install the latest GeForce drivers before proceeding. At the time of writing this is version 181.22


2. Install GeForce 3D Vision and Apply Registry Patch

How To Play Your Games In 'Real' 3D (Windows) install iconWhen you’ve got your drivers up to date, download and install NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision.

Next, we need to apply a registry patch. You can download it here [No Longer Available]. This patch activates the output of anaglyph images.

To apply a registry patch, you just need to open the file.

3. (optional) Change The Anaglyph Filter Type

How To Play Your Games In 'Real' 3D (Windows) colorsThere are several different anaglyph filters. For instance, we can use the default red-cyan glasses, but also red-blue, red-green, and even yellow-blue filters exist.


To change the anaglyph filter type, we need to apply another registry patch.

To return to the default Red-Cyan filter setup, you need to download and run this registry patch and reinstall NVIDIA GeForce 3D Vision.

4. Activate Stereoscopic Vision

Last but not least, we need to activate the stereoscopic vision. Open the NVIDIA Control Panel, and activate it in the Stereo tab.

How To Play Your Games In 'Real' 3D (Windows) 11 02 2009 20 42 15

That’s it! You’re all set up now, and ready to begin your 3D gaming session!

The Ideal Environment

It’s best to do this is a dark room, sitting right in front of your screen. If the images don’t look right, it’s probably because you’re using too light a room, looking at your screen from too big an angle, or are using the wrong color filters.

When you’ve got it set up, let us know what you think of your new 3D gaming sessions!

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  1. Paul Nugent
    May 28, 2019 at 7:54 am

    No more 3D. NVidia have decided to stop supporting 3D so the latest video drivers do NOT include 3D or nVision. So you need 418 or under. I'm really dissapointed!

  2. Momax
    April 30, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Hello, does it work for GTX980 with Samsung (fullHD 3D LED SA950) series 9, and I do have Win 7 !!

    • Klaus
      December 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Probably not. Nvidia stupidly decided to push their proprietary shutter glasses instead, removing the entry-level option of anaglyph. Which of course doesn't work with Optimus, or run-of-the-mill monitors, while anaglyph would work perfectly well. *angry*

  3. Joao Carlos
    January 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Simon, i dont have red-green glasses, but i do have those new glasses that they give out on the 3D cinema sessions, they are grey, from my understanding they use a diferent tecnology, any ideas how to use that? (i heard it is way better)


    • Vladimir
      January 21, 2010 at 1:39 am

      No chance, unless you have a monitor w/interlaced polarization or projector /w polarized filters and metallic screen.

  4. Vladimir
    January 8, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Okay, I've tried to install geforce driver 181.22 WHQL (from the original link) and then tried to install nVidia Windows Vista Stereo 3D Driver (despite I have Windows XP). I've got the following message in the end of install:

    This Stereoscopic 3D driver is not compatible with the existing graphics driver.
    Please go to and obtain a later graphics driver.

    Tried to apply patch after that and I don't see stereo settings in the control panel :(.

    • Vladimir
      January 10, 2010 at 12:33 am

      Seems like I'll stick to iZ3D Driver... :) Lastly I've found more or less good way to calibrate separation/convergence correctly. Played HL2 again and enjoyed very much :). Thanks for help anyway!

      • Simon Slangen
        January 10, 2010 at 5:18 am

        I wish I knew an answer to your problem. Perhaps, in time, someone else will come up with a fix. Glad to hear iZ3D did work out. :-)

  5. Vladimir
    January 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hi! I have GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB and Windows XP 32bit. I've tried to setup nVidia stereo. Installed GeForce drivers v. 195.62, nVidia Stereo 91.31 and applied registry patch. Now I see 3D Stereo Properties, but I don't see any color separation in 3d games (tried to set Stereo Mode Enabled = Enable, or to set it = Enabled By Hotkey and pressed Ctrl + T in game). Can anyone confirm that there Windows XP + nVidia stereo can work?

    Also I've already tried iZ3D 1.10, it works nicely, but I have trouble setting up convergence/separation in games correctly so I wanted to try nVidia still... Help please :).

    • Simon Slangen
      January 7, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      There's an alternative XP install and reg patch posted at the top of the comments. Good luck!

      • Vladimir
        January 7, 2010 at 4:49 pm

        You mean that comment?

        "Simon Slangen

        Kudos to Emrah for pointing this out:
        The XP Stereo software can be found here
        The XP registry patch can be found here (mirror)

        Apologies for the inconvenience."

        Actually I've used links from it already :). Because original link to 3D Vision Driver ( leads to Vista-only driver :(.

      • Simon Slangen
        January 7, 2010 at 6:26 pm

        My guess would be it's because of your newer GeForce drivers. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, I think you'd have better luck after downgrading to 181.22. They've been known to work on XP with those drivers.

  6. unwnown
    December 29, 2009 at 8:13 am


  7. spaceface
    September 14, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I'll certainly come back to this article once I updated my hardware (and got some cool 3d glasses)

  8. Travis
    September 6, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Wow! I didn't know this existed. I do a lot of gaming myself, and I can definitely relate to the urge of wanting a WYSIWYG type of environment. Thanks for the heads up though!

  9. The Scyphozoa
    June 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    So, does this not work with graphics cards made for laptops, such as 8600M GT? What I downloaded from the Vista 32 driver link said it couldn't find a driver compatible with my hardware. So I skipped that step and now there are no Stereo settings on the NVIDIA Control Panel.

  10. shiro
    June 10, 2009 at 7:24 am

    hi do you have an updated version of the registry fix? it does not seem to work with the current (185.85) nvidia driver


  11. Afi
    May 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Brilliant! It works! Although on the website it says its a 30-day trial but I don't see any time expiry date on the program. Hopefully I can keep it =D Thanks a lot! You're a ledgend! Now I can buy a high-end ATI graphics card. Cheers!

    • Simon Slangen
      May 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

      You're in luck, the anaglyph output driver (which is what you're looking for) . :-)

  12. Afi
    May 20, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Heya, Is this software not compatible with ATI Radeons? I want to buy Radeon so much but I want this software too! Ah, a dilemma...Can anyone tell me please? Thank you.

    • Simon Slangen
      May 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

      You could give iZ3D a try. Enjoy!

  13. Lazlo
    March 5, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Here is another line of questioning I could use some help on. It may be obvious to more advanced 3d gamers/game producers but, in my quest to produce a particular kind of game, I have yet to find the answers. Here goes...

    When games work in stereoscopic 3d(like the games compatible with the nvidia geforce)


    is it because:

    A. The game engine they are produced on allows for various filtered camera configurations to be used by the user/view to split the view of all the objects and landscapes, thus seeing everything split according to what objects/figures are actually closer to or further away from the user?


    B: Does a program like gforce (and others like it) simply take a whole frame of a scene and split the view arbitrarily according to a random rendering that it picks for that frame (and so on for each frame)?

    If the answer is #A, can anybody tell me how to find out more about particular game engines that do this and/or any plug-ins that I might need to do this? I wrote Unity Engine because they are the engine that my artist wants to use. But I have not heard back from them. I'd appreciate any info anyone can give me.

  14. Lundi
    March 4, 2009 at 5:58 am

    my stereoscopic 3d was working find with vista 32x and i switch to 64x i have the correct driver and everything install but i can't activate it i use the registry file found here and its not working any one... help...
    latest software and driver are installed i just can't activate the stereoscopic in control panel.... help....

  15. Lazlo
    March 1, 2009 at 1:34 am

    I went to the NVIDIA site to check things out. They showed packages including special glasses and even a screen that it works best with. Though this looks like exactly what I am looking for in the long run, I am curious. Will this work on other PC screens if one doesn't yet own the Samsung model? Do the filters still work if someone doesn't have the premo glasses (standard filter glasses)? Are there options to set the view to work with the various kinds of standard filter combinations (red-blue, red-green, yellow blue)?

    • Simon Slangen
      March 1, 2009 at 7:32 am

      You can do it with any screen you want, as long as you've got stereoscopic filters (those goofy coloured glasses). You can change the colour combinations using registry patches, as described in the article.

  16. Sash
    February 21, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    i need help, i have tried all that emrah and dave and simon have said, but it just doesnt work, i can only enable stero, via dave's way, with that extra reg key from thotie, and then i luanch e.g left 4 dead, and its all the same, no double image, nothing. Can anyone help?
    I am on Xp (32- bit) SP3, and i have a nVidia geForce 8400GS, and i have red/blue glasses. Thank you

    • Simon Slangen
      February 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm

      I don't know what's causing it, but have you tried iZ3D yet? It's been reported working by several other readers.

      Mind uninstalling the rest before you go through with it though.

  17. Dave
    February 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    If anyone is having the problem of stereo 3d tab not showing up in nvidia control panel, here's what worked for me (i use Windows XP. Vista, no idea):
    Read the comments by user thothie to enable the OLD nvidia control panel with a reg edit here:
    then a 3d option will show up on right click of desktop/ nvidia display, 'your display'/ additional properties.
    ps there's an undo regedit there so you can back out if no good.

    • Emrah
      February 19, 2009 at 6:27 am

      Thanks Dave, will try that too I think. However iz3D is pretty awesome :)

  18. alda
    February 17, 2009 at 3:43 am

    its rubish wat if u dont have a "3D" glasses!! duuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!

  19. JimSp.
    February 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    GeForce Stereoscopic 3D Driver
    Version: 181.25
    Release Date: February 2, 2009
    Operating System: Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit
    Language: U.S. English
    File Size: 8.66 MB

  20. Yergermensmettergensting
    February 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I can't get the enable stereoscopic 3d box to stay checked. when i click it, it does a 3D test, then goes back to windows and the box is not checked. I have a GTX 260. thanks for your help

    • Simon Slangen
      February 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

      Seems like it isn't satisfied with the test-results :-p wouldn't know why though.

      If you can't get it to work, you can try the iZ3D plugins that are mentioned above. Let me know how they work out ;-)

      • Yergermensmettergensting
        February 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

        The iZ3D drivers work great. Thanks!!

      • Emrah
        February 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

        The iZ3D drivers are the way to go :D Thanks a lot!

    • Forgulius the Magnificent
      February 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

      Make a anything.reg and using the Mighty NOTEPAD, magicaly put this MythicPhrase inside:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\Stereo3D]

      And then, like a hammer hitting a watermelon, execute it!
      Farewell dear poster

  21. Mike
    February 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Or just download the free driver from
    No registry hacks required and it works with almost every video card.

    • Simon Slangen
      February 15, 2009 at 6:11 pm

      Don't these require specific monitors, or is that my misunderstanding?

      • Simon Slangen
        February 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm

        Hmm... Seems like they don't.

        Great tip! :-D

  22. Dave
    February 15, 2009 at 6:08 am

    I get nvidia error '3d driver is not compatible with your current driver'.
    I followed all your steps and have the current driver and an nvidia 8800GT.
    Have uninstalled/reinstalled the driver, 3d driver, reg patch.
    Arghh frustrating! I wanted to play halflife 2 in 3d.

    • Simon Slangen
      February 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm

      I'm not sure what could cause this, you're not on XP64?

      You can always give iZ3D a try (thanks to Mark).

      • Dave
        February 16, 2009 at 7:48 pm

        Hey thanks Simon and Mark for taking the time to mention iZ3D, the 3D on/off hotkey and divergence adjustments are pretty handy too.
        Regards Dave.

        • Simon Slangen
          February 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm

          Sorry Emrah, seems like something indeed went wrong. Thanks for pointing it out!

          Here are the XP stereo drivers
          and here is the XP regpatch (mirror)

        • Simon Slangen
          February 17, 2009 at 5:16 pm

          @Emrah: The XP 3D stereo drivers and reg patch are provided in the article as well ;-)

        • Emrah
          February 18, 2009 at 1:17 am

          Glad to be of assistance :) However, I still don't get anything about 3D stereo on the nVidia Control Panel :( Does it have to do with the games installed? Seems like the reg file is for left4dead by the way...

        • Simon Slangen
          February 18, 2009 at 8:31 am

          On the page you provided, Dragon says:
          On XP 32-bit, the older 3d vision driver won’t appear in the new nvidia control panel. It was used before nvidia switched to the new control panel version of the driver. You should try pressing ctrl-t in-game to enable the stereo effects. If that doesn’t work, you’ll have to read the docs for the older v9 3d vision driver for XP.

        • Simon Slangen
          February 18, 2009 at 8:27 am

          If you've got GeForce version 181.22, stereo app and reg patch installed, it should show up in the Stereo tab.

          Did you install all the right drivers/apps right away (or did you find out about the xp apps later on)?

          Normally, this patch should work for other titles as well, because it alters the NVidia output.

        • Emrah
          February 18, 2009 at 9:30 am

          I installed the latest nVidia and 3D Stereo drivers for XP and applied the patch. Thanks for pointing out the info about the 3D Stereo tab issue on the page I posted, but really paid no attention to :)

  23. Cheezwhiz
    February 13, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Does anyone know if you can do this using NVIDIA nForce?

  24. Vadim P.
    February 13, 2009 at 9:26 am

    @James: I exactly thought of that too.

  25. James
    February 13, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Amazing! I cannt belive this technology has arrived in this work, But overall this would be effective psychologically for most children.

  26. Eric D.
    February 12, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    GeForce 3D Vision says it installs but it doesn't in actuality. Stupid.

  27. James
    February 12, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Isn't there a anaglyph plugin for Compiz? Not that it's likely to work quite like this...

  28. Mike
    February 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    They have this built into Trackmania United Forever. I bought a pair of red/blue goggles specifically to test it out and it was really cool. I haven't seen that type of 3D effect in years and it was really fascinating to play.. did give me a bit of a headache, though.

  29. Simon Slangen
    February 12, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    FYI - Here's a list of all the supported games, also rated on how well they operate under this technology:

    Have fun! ;-)

  30. fsdf
    February 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    hot to play your games in 3D:

    ... go out and have fun.

    • Ciel
      February 17, 2009 at 8:11 am

      Just no. ;/

    • Simon Slangen
      February 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm

      Kudos to Emrah for pointing this out:
      The XP Stereo software can be found here
      The XP registry patch can be found here (mirror)

      Apologies for the inconvenience.